Public Access: The Promise

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Annual Report Berkeley Community Media Fiscal Year July 1993- June 1994
Wednesday, October 26, 1994 Berkeley will have its own community cable channel in the next few months.

Thanks to a remarkable and long-lived collaboration by citizens, the City of Berkeley and the Berkeley Unified School District. Berkeley Community Media, which is just completing its first year, will be responsible for operating and managing this channel and future channels.

BCM is the product of a long struggle to bring community TV to Berkeley. Many Berkeley people have worked hard over many years to make this happen. The community owes its appreciation to those who campaigned for community TV--the members of the Mayor's Task Force on Cable Television; its successor city commission from 1988 onward, the Cable Television Task Force; the Board of Conveners that created Berkeley Community Media; the City Council members of recent years who repeatedly supported citizen efforts and many others. One person deserves particular mention--Sean Gordon. As assistant to the City Manager, Sean Gordon had the determination and the vision to make sure community TV came back to Berkeley. Unfortunately, Sean died unexpectedly just as he was helping to negotiate the franchise agreement that would make his vision a reality.

The City Manager at the time of the negotiations, Michael Brown, and city staffers, with the help of the Cable TV Task Force, carried on the campaign to complete the tough year-long negotiations. The City Council adopted the franchise agreement on Sept. 15, 1992. At the same time the Council took actions to support creation of an independent non-profit community television corporation, voted funding to assist in its development and adopted a policy that at least 40% of the franchise fee would go to support public, educational and government access programming and activities in future. The franchise agreement specified that Bay Cablevision would provide $900,000 for equipment and facilities for community cable over the 15 year life of the agreement. A Board of Conveners selected by the Cable Television Task Force worked with Sue Buske, a nationally known consultant on community cable, to create a non-profit organization to manage community cable for Berkeley.

Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws were drafted and a budget drawn up. The facilities committee adopted criteria for a permanent facility and looked for temporary sites. A search committee advertised for and sought out members for the first board of directors. Berkeley Community Media was the result of the energetic and knowledgeable efforts of the Board of Conveners. [The members of the Board of Conveners are included in the attached Summary Report on Creation of BCM. See Attachment #3.]The new board of directors of BCM met for the first time on September 13, 1993.

Members of the first Board were: Wendy Lee Anderson, Cliff Barney, Nancy Bickel, boona cheema, Paula deJoie, Robert C. Goss, Jr., Marci Lockwood, Lee Marrs, Stephen H. Potter, Claire W. Schooley, Betty Segal, Sherry Smith, Kevin Wilimering. Brad Fox, Assistant Principal, Berkeley High School, served as the designated appointee of the Berkeley Unified School District. The slot designated for a post-secondary representative appointed jointly by the University of California Berkeley and the Peralta Community College District was vacant during this first year. Officers were: Nancy Bickel, Chair; Bob Goss, Vice-chair, boona cheema, Secretary; Kevin Willmering, Treasurer. The new board had the benefit of initial training sessions with Sue Buske to set up committees, define its tasks and write its work plan for the first two years. [Capsule biographies of the Board members are attached. See Attachment #2.]

Basic organizational tasks were completed in the fall and winter of 1993-94. Incorporation was finalized on January 3, 1994, when the articles of incorporation were endorsed by the Secretary of State. BCM has been recognized as tax exempt by the State of California and by the federal Internal Revenue Service.
Funding and housing BCM were the main focus of the Board's work during the fall and winter. Negotiation of the contract with the City of Berkeley to manage public, educational and government access channels and facilities was unexpectedly protracted and difficult. Contract negotiations were completed in early March 1994. During the negotiations, Chris Mead, Manager of Information Services, replaced Laura Allen as the City's cable coordinator, he continues as the City's liaison with BCM.

The five year contract with the City outlines BCM's obligation to operate the channel(s) and a community access center. Citizens and community groups producing programs for cable cast on the channels will have free use of the facilities. City and school district staff and students will also produce programs. The contract provided that BCM would receive $35,000 for the remainder of the 1993-94 fiscal year and $115,000 for the 1994-95 fiscal year. In addition, BCM will have $400,000 to spend on equipment and facilities during its first five years. The $400,000 is the first installment of the $900,000 capital grant provided to the City by Bay Cablevision under the provisions of the franchise agreement. The City Council also approved a six month trial for cable cast of Council meetings.

The Berkeley Unified School District has agreed to build and donate use of a permanent facility at Berkeley High School. With the support of Superintendent LaVoneia Steele and Assistant Superintendent Nancy Spaeth, Brad Fox, BUSD representative on BCM's board, worked with BCM representatives and District staff to develop the proposals. The Board of Education approved an agreement for a temporary playback location at 1835 Allston Way and a draft letter of agreement with BCM to provide approximately 4500 square feet of space in the renovated G building at Berkeley High School. Details of the agreement are now being completed; essentially BUSD will provide the space free of charge to BCM and pay for the construction of the studio and television production facility.

BCM will manage the facility for the shared use of citizens, the city government and school district students and staff. The temporary playback facility will actually be housed, along with the video equipment for Council cable casts, in a hallway behind the Council Chamber.

John Luvender, who has a strong and varied background in public access, was hired as Executive Director in April after a national search. Beginning work in mid-May, he has tackled the many tasks set out in the BCM with energy and enthusiasm. The search for facility locations intensified and, with the assistance of the Board's facilities committee, chaired by Bob Goss, Luvender did an exhaustive search for a temporary site that would meet the Board's many criteria: centrally located, accessible by public transit, safe, with nearby parking, handicapped accessible, adequate space, within budget. In mid-August, BCM moved from a tiny temporary office on 7th St. to an interim facility location at 2065 Kittredge, Suite C. The facility is in the basement of the Shattuck Cinemas building. The entrance is on Kittredge St. near the corner of Harold Way and across from the main library.

Preview of Coming Attractions on B-TV, Channel 25, the Berkeley Channel
Berkeley Community Media expects to activate its first community cable channel on Bay Cablevision's Channel 25 in November, when installation of equipment at the City Council Chambers should be complete. Programming will begin with an electronic community bulletin board and live City Council meetings. A call for pre-produced community programming will also go out at this time.

A system for automated playback of videotapes, editing suites and portable equipment will be installed and readied for public use. Training of new volunteer producers will begin in January at the temporary Kittredge site. Plans and preparations for the move into our permanent location at Berkeley High School will be completed during the year.We will be primarily a S-VHS/VHS production format operation with the ability to copy from HI-8/8mm or 3/4SP and 3/4 inch formats. Our interim facility will house two editing suites, one of which will double as a portable studio. Four camcorders will be available for loan to certified members along with lighting kits and microphones. Character generation and graphics will be handled by Amiga computers.

The permanent site at Berkeley High School will house a full size live production studio, an A/B roll edit suite with two additional edit suites and a small studio for phone-in programs. Berkeley High will have access to the facility in the morning hours as part of our partnership agreement and it will be open to the public in the afternoons and evenings, as well as on Saturday.
revised 10/26/94

Berkeley Community Media (BCM)....responsible for operating and managing the City of Berkeley's Public Access Cable Channel(s) BTV28 (formally Channel 25) and CTV33 ....

  • 1993-1994 Berkeley Community Media Annual Report (pdf)
  • 1995-96 Berkeley Community Media Annual Report Pages 1-2 & Pages 3-4 & Pages 5-7 (pdf)
  • 1996-97 Berkeley Community Media Annual Report Pages 1-3 & Pages 4-6 & Pages 7-9 (pdf)
  • 1997-98 Berkeley Community Media Annual Report Pages 1-2 & pages 3-5 & pages 6-8 (pdf)
  • Berkeley Community Media Board of Directors List 1993-94
  • Berkeley Community Media Board of Directors List 1994-95
  • Berkeley Community Media Board of Directors List 1996-97 (pdf)
  • Berkeley Community Media Board of Directors List 1997-98
  • Resolution No. 57,463-N.S.Contract with Berkeley Community Media & PEG
  • Berkeley Community Media Budget and Contract Compliance
    L A Wood, To Berkeley City Council, May 30, 1997
  • Monitor. Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 1 pages 1-2 & Pages 3-4 pdf
    Berkeley Community Media, September 1995

John Luvernder, Chelseah Joachim, jeanette Robinson, and Ben Hightower, access facility's first staff

BCM Staff September 1995-Left to Right: John Luvernder, Chelseah Joachim, Jeanette Robinson, Ben Hightower pictured at 2065 Kittredge Street, Suite K, Berkeley.

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